http://www.nypost.com/2013/09/23/jack-k ... y-tribute/
Jack Klugman doesn’t make the cut at Emmy tribute
By Michael Starr
September 23, 2013 | 2:24pmhttp://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/20 ... lugman.jpg
Jack Klugman, pictured here in 2005
One of my favorite “Twilight Zone” episodes is called “A Game of Pool,” notable for featuring only two actors: Jack Klugman and Jonathan Winters.
In that 1961 episode, Klugman’s sad-sack pool shark Jesse Cardiff, convinced he’s the best there is — even if no one else knows it — is challenged to a high-stakes game of pool by dead billiards legend Fats Brown (Winters), who, in perfect “Twilight Zone” fashion, appears in Jesse’s dingy pool room. The two men spend the next half hour engaging in banter and psychological one-upsmanship — a study in brilliant acting, timing and terrific chemistry between two old pros.
I thought of this during Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, which broke tradition by honoring four late TV giants — and one lightweight, Cory Monteith — with solo “tributes.”
Winters was one such legend so honored, and rightfully so.
But not Jack Klugman.
It was a WTF? moment that stood out for its sheer gall. You can honor Monteith — a 31-year-old actor with a paper-thin resume who overdosed in a Vancouver hotel room — but you can’t find three minutes for a true TV legend? One of the all-time greats who not only headlined two long-running series (“The Odd Couple,” “Quincy”) but was a familiar face during the industry’s mid-’50s “Golden Age” and was beloved by one and all?
Instead, Klugman was idiotically snubbed, relegated to the traditional “In Memoriam” segment, where his photo, flashed on-screen, generated — by far — the biggest applause from the in-studio audience. They recognized his importance to a medium he helped shape. Apparently the show’s producers did not.
Klugman’s rightful place was among the pantheon honored Sunday night: Winters, Jean Stapleton, Gary David Goldberg and James Gandolfini. Monteith’s inclusion in that esteemed group was a cynical attempt to cater to the show’s “young” viewers — and nothing more.
Talk about a farce, and an insult to Klugman’s memory. The actor, who died last December at the age of 90, not only won three Emmys (including two for “The Odd Couple”) but appeared in four (!) “Twilight Zone” episodes while gracing other TV classics (“The Defenders,” “Naked City,” “The Untouchables”) with his earthy acting and gritty magnetism.
Leave it to an industry more attuned to ratings than artistic integrity to diss a TV giant on the industry’s biggest night.
Hooray for Hollywood.